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The Heartless Husband

Old and young, women and children gathered to enjoy the show, and some idle loafer called out in a loud voice:

“The old beggar’s son-in-law has become a mandarin!”

Mosu blushed with shame when he heard these words. Speechless and out of sorts he seated himself in his room. But the old beggar-king in the joy of his heart did not notice his ill humor. He had a great festival banquet prepared, to which he invited all his neighbors and good friends. But most of the invited guests were beggars and poor folk, and he insisted that Mosu eat with them. With much difficulty Mosu was induced to leave his room. Yet when he saw the guests gathered around the table, as ragged and dirty as a horde of hungry devils, he retired again with disdain. Little Golden Daughter, who realized how he felt, tried to cheer him up again in a hundred and one ways, but all in vain.

A few days later Mosu, with his wife and servants, set out for the new district he was to govern. One goes from Hanchow to Wu We by water. So they entered a ship and sailed out to the Yangtze-kiang. At the end of the first day they reached a city where they anchored. The night was clear and the moonrays glittered on the water, and Mosu sat in the front part of the ship enjoying the moonlight. Suddenly he chanced to think of the old beggar-king. It was true that his wife was wise and good, but should heaven happen to bless them with children, these children would always be the beggar’s nephews and nieces, and there was no way of preventing such a disgrace. And thus thinking a plan occurred to him. He called Little Golden Daughter out of the cabin to come and enjoy the moonlight, and she came out to him happily. Men servants and maid servants and all the sailors had long since gone to sleep. He looked about him on all sides, but there was no one to be seen. Little Golden Daughter was standing at the front of the ship, thinking no evil, when a hand suddenly thrust her into the water. Then Mosu pretended to be frightened, and began to call out: “My wife made a misstep and has fallen into the water!

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